‘I look forward to the challenge’
NEWLY appointed Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) Ambassador Rocky Meade says he is embracing the challenge of his new role as he continues to share his expertise and serve his country.
“It is an additional responsibility on the portfolio I now have…so I’m looking forward to the challenge. I always look forward to challenges to see how I add value,” he told the Jamaica Observer on Monday, shortly after his appointment was confirmed in an OPM release.
Ambassador Meade, who will retain his current post as ambassador plenipotentiary with responsibility for national strategic initiatives, will be assuming the permanent secretary role on Tuesday, August 1.
“I welcomed the opportunity I got to assist with strategic initiatives and I now welcome this additional post, and I will continue to be available to my country for as long as my fellow citizens want me to help — it doesn’t matter the specific post. If my fellow citizens would like me to use my experience and help, then I am available. This specific post is not as important as just adding value to my country,” he said.
The former Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) head is among three people who have been newly appointed in key areas in the Andrew Holness-led Administration.
The others are Audrey Sewell who will become the new Cabinet secretary, taking over from Ambassador Douglas Saunders who had stayed on beyond his scheduled retirement in October 2022 until a replacement was found; and Arlene Williams who will be the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation. These new posts also become effective August 1.
Meade had previously been given the nod for the Cabinet secretary position, but following questions about the appointment Meade declined to take up the post amid concerns raised that it was in breach of the Jamaican Constitution.
He subsequently took on the role of ambassador plenipotentiary wherein he plays a crucial part in coordinating and advising the prime minister and the Cabinet, where necessary, on matters of national strategic significance. He is also co-chair of the Constitutional Reform Committee.
Speaking on his decision not to accept his previous appointment as Cabinet secretary, Ambassador Meade said his only desire is to continue to help his country in whatever way he can, but to ensure he does so appropriately.
“So, obviously, I would’ve had options to go elsewhere and work elsewhere but, given an opportunity to help my country, I was not so much concerned about the precise post, I just wanted the opportunity to help — and the more wide-ranging impact I can have, the better,” he said.
“Once persons said there was a concern, I didn’t hesitate to step away because I wasn’t aspiring to a particular post; I just wanted an opportunity to continue helping my country,” he added.
According to an OPM release on Monday, the new appointments follow the recommendations of the prime minister and the full approval of the governor general.
“The prime minister has tasked these individuals to improve service delivery and efficiency in government. This with a view to ensure the significant gains made by the Administration is felt by Jamaicans from all walks of life,” the release said.
The release further noted that Ambassador Rocky Meade, who holds a PhD from the University of Amsterdam, a Master of Military Arts and Science from the US Army Command and General Staff College, and both master’s and bachelor of arts degrees from The University of the West Indies, brings nearly four decades of exemplary leadership experience to his new role as permanent secretary in OPM.
“Throughout his distinguished career Ambassador Meade has led various significant initiatives with impact at the organisation, national, and international levels. Notable accomplishments include spearheading the establishment and growth of the Jamaica National Service Corps, overseeing the expansion and regionalisation of the JDF, and enhancing the Caribbean’s regional disaster response capabilities. His exceptional leadership has earned him the respect and admiration of colleagues both locally and internationally,” the release read.
The release further noted that the Jamaican Government expresses utmost confidence in the capabilities of all the appointees and has every confidence in their exceptional expertise and unwavering dedication to serving the people of Jamaica, which will undoubtedly contribute significantly to the nation’s progress and development.